- Modern Australian Agriculture
Seminis reaffirms commitment to onion industry, opens $2 million breeding station
Wednesday 24th January 2018
The $2 million Seminis Onion Breeding Station officially opened in Pukekohe, New Zealand in late January 2018.
The world-class facility housing state-of-the-art sheds, crop covers and irrigation systems, represents the Seminis global mid-day onion breeding program that supports key markets including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.
Dr. Yossi Shapiro, Global Breeding Director for Large Seed, Root & Bulb and Brassica crops at Monsanto Vegetable Seeds cut the ribbon as part of the Seminis Onion Innovation Day. Visiting from the United States, Dr. Shapiro said it was an honour to be a part of the station opening.
“The Pukekohe station is already yielding significant results for Seminis onion growers in New Zealand, Australia and further abroad. It adds an important dimension to Seminis’ global onion breeding network, both in terms of knowledge transfer and genetics,” said Dr. Shapiro.
“Our investment in the new station demonstrates Seminis’ long-term commitment to Australian and New Zealand onion growers and to developing onion varieties that meet their needs and suit local conditions,” he said.
The innovation day gave growers the opportunity to see new Seminis hybrids and hear from the experts on where breeding efforts will head in the future. Attendees were impressed by Seminis’ investment to the station, with many commenting on the quality of on-site facilities as well as the new pipeline of hybrids Seminis is developing, with root disease resistance and storability improvements receiving thumbs up.
Over 40 growers from Australia and New Zealand attended the innovation day, along with key members of the global Seminis onion breeding team who travelled to New Zealand from the U.S., Brazil and South Africa.
Grower attendees were highly impressed by the wide planting window of SVNH1752 and excited to see dark colour in late time slot onion SVNH8265, which will be trialed for another year. Good results have been seen for the Tasmanian market from early to late, with several hybrids – Currawong, Ranguru, Shrike, Korimako and Cassowarie performing well.
In addition to exploring new varieties, attendees were treated to presentations by Dan Bloomer on precision agriculture and horticulture as well as a field mapping drone demonstration by Will Bignell. Australian growers also had the opportunity to visit leading onion grading and packing facilities in the Pukekohe region.